Monday, September 11, 2006

Fourth Circuit holds that district courts lack authority to remit restitution order imposed under the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act

In UNITED STATES v. ROPER, the Fourth Circuit considered the Government's challenge to a district court's remittance of restitution. The Government asserted that because the district court imposed the restitution orders pursuant to the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act (MVRA), it lacked the authority to remit the restitution orders.

The panel held that the MVRA, in narrow circumstances, does allow for the reduction of an order of restitution where the victim has recovered a portion of the loss in a federal or state civil proceeding. However, this one exception was not present in this case. The Fourth Circuit concluded: "Because the MVRA includes one unique circumstance where district courts may reduce a mandatory order of restitution, we will not read into the statute any additional authority to remit such orders." Hence, the Court remanded with instructions to reinstate the restitution orders.

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